OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki got testy this week when claiming that the Biden administration will not be “providing funding for crack pipes.”
During the press briefing, a reporter asked Psaki about Tennessee GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn saying she will hold up a bill to keep the government funded due to a harm reduction program.
Blackburn placed a hold on a continuing resolution to fund the government until the Department of Health and Human Services agrees to “restructure” its harm reduction program to ensure no funding will go to the distribution of any drug paraphernalia.
A reporter asked: “Jen, the Senate is working on this stopgap funding bill that, you know, the deadline is Friday. What’s the level of confidence that the President will be able to sign that extension by Friday? And, separately, has the administration been talking to the two Republican senators who have raised concerns — Senator Lee and Blackburn?”
“We are engaged with a range of Democrats and Republicans, and certainly we are hopeful that we will be able to sign this. I would note, though, that I believe — and correct me if I’m wrong here — that one of Senator Blackburn’s primary concerns is about relation to the — to the funding of crack pipes. Is this correct?” Psaki began.
“Which is not an issue. So, this is a — this is an issue — what is happening here is the potential to hold up funding in the government and important programs around an issue that is not an issue, because we’ve been very clear that we are not providing funding for crack pipes,” she added.
“What is happening here is the potential to hold up funding the government and important programs around an issue that is not an issue. Because we’ve been very clear that we are not providing funding for crack pipes,” she continued.
Some Republican lawmakers introduced legislation last week that would bar the federal government from buying and distributing crack pipes while also appearing to take aim at President Joe Biden’s son Hunter with the name of the bill.
Titled the ‘‘Halting the Use of Narcotics Through Effective Recovery Act of 2022,’’ the legislation is known as the ‘‘HUNTER Act of 2022.”
According to its description, the purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit the use of Federal funds to purchase or support the purchase of, drug paraphernalia.”
The bill states:
(a) IN GENERAL.—No Federal funds, including funds appropriated by section 2706 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (42 U.S.C. 290dd–3 note), may be used for the purchase, or to support the purchase by any recipient of Federal assistance, of any drug paraphernalia.
(b) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ‘‘drug paraphernalia’’— (1) has the definition given to that term in section 863 of title 18, United States Code; and (2) includes, to the extent covered by such definition, crack pipes, harm reduction vending machines, syringes, and safe smoking kits and supplies.
Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Dan Bishop of North Carolina said in an exclusive joint interview with Fox News Digital that the Biden administration got caught ‘red-handed’ trying to fund crack pipes as part of a $30 million grant program and that legislation is needed to stop the ‘ridiculous’ proposal.
The White House has denied the grant would fund crack pipes.